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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2020-04-06
 By Steven  Streetman. Spartan Chess. A game with unequal armies. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Cannon wrote on 2020-04-08 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I don't usually like games with different armies, but this is an exception. You've put a lot of thought into making a game whose different armies are not unevenly matched. For sure, the Spartan side lacks a Queen and its army appears to be slightly less powerful, but that is compensated for by the presence of two kings, both of which must be checkmated/captured. 

H. G. Muller wrote on 2016-10-20 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
holdingsType=1 promoZone=1 maxPromote=2 promoChoice=*N*B*R*Q*C*L*G*W*K graphicsDir= whitePrefix=w blackPrefix=b graphicsType=png startShade=#FFCC00 symmetry=none pawn::fmWfcFifmnD::a2-h2,, hoplit::fmFfcWifmA:lance:,,a7-h7 knight:N:::b1,g1,,:8,0 bishop:B:B::c1,f1,,:8,0 rook::::a1,h1,,:8,0 queen::::d1,,:8,0 captain::WD:tower:,,d8,e8:0,8 lieutenant::FAsmW:elephant:,,a8,h8:0,8 general::RF:crownedrook:,,b8:0,8 warlord::BN:archbishop:,,g8:0,8 king (spartan)::K:king:,,c8,f8 king (persian)::KisO2:king:e1,,

Color coding of moves:

  • move or capture (sliding)
  • move or capture (jump)
  • non-capture only
  • initial non-capture (for virgin pieces only)
  • capture only
  • moving into or passing through check

Spartan Chess

This game is one of the top favorites of this site. As it also does feature a fair number of unorthodox pieces that makes it deservant of an interactive diagram. Especially since almost all comments on it have been totally garbled by messing up their layout.

    Because of the asymmetry of this variant it required some special attention to make sure the diagram would only allow each side to promote to its own pieces. What I did was define the promotion choice with an asterisk before each piece, meaning it can only come from the holdings. Then I stuffed the holdings initially with eight of each eligible piece type (enough to promote all Pawns to it).

    Except for the Spartan King, which would only be a valid promotion choice if one of the Kings was captured. So I defined the holdings type such that it would accumulate captured pieces of the original owner. By starting without Kings in hand the Spartans then can only promote to King when one of their Kings is captured.


    Only the Persians can castle, and this forced the Persian and Spartan Kings to be defined as different piece types. (If castling is specified with the aid of an O atom, the diagram assumes it is with a Rook or a corner piece of any type. And we do'nt want the Spartan Kings to castle with their Lieutenants!) This has the dubious effect of the Spartan Kings not being considered royal (as the diagram only considers one piece royal, by default the last one defined). So moves of Spartan Kings into check are not 'grayed out', like they are for the Persian King. But of course this is justifiable, as the Spartan King can actually expose itself to capture (if there still is a second one). So such moves can be legal. The diagram does not understand extinction royalty.

    Joe Joyce wrote on 2010-11-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
    I'd say Steven hit a home run, even if he didn't hit this one clear out of the park. Let me quote the last 2 lines of the Betza article Jorg refers to, Different Pawns.
    'If you can find alternate Pawns, I will be in awe, taking my hat off to you.
    And, to keep you from feeling complacent, I'll ask you to try chess with different Kings. I now fade away, leaving nothing behind but an evil grin.'
    Spartan chess, with its pair of kings, is halfway between FIDE and Gary Gifford's Three Elephant Chess. You may argue the kings aren't quite different enough to fulfill Ralph's requirements. Still, Steven nailed the different pawns and also managed to put 3 kings on the board in the same 2-player game. That's a nice, high benchmark for the rest of us to go after.

    Jörg Knappen wrote on 2010-11-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
    An excellent to this game!
    Maybe the author has not read the comment below, otherwise he would have been frightened by the task he has underdone. On the other hand: Can a Spartan be frightened?

    David Cannon wrote on 2010-11-13 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
    Upgrading my rating to 'excellent', having seen all the additional explanations added. Well done, Seven.

    David Cannon wrote on 2010-11-10 UTCGood ★★★★
    On the whole I like this game, but please refrain from making claims that cannot be substantiated. 'No opening book' and 'No end game strategies' are, in my judgement, subjective claims. FIDE chess - officially - has no opening book either. No does it have any official end game strategy. Just look up the rules of FIDE chess - you won't find anything about openings or end games. The popular openings (Ruy Lopez, Sicilian, etc.) are simply choices that have become popular because players have found them workable. Your game, Steven, isn't well known yet. But you can bet your life on it that if and when it does become well-known, people will be analyzing opening and closing strategies to find optimal advantages for each player.

    Jianying Ji wrote on 2010-11-06 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
    I have followed the development of spartan chess in the comments, and I must say I am deeply impressed, especially by the collaboration of H.G.Muller and Steven Streetman. The use of applied computational variantology (to coin a phrase) is a tour-de-force. This is how computers should be used in this field that we are in. I see a bright future in this approach.
    I also look forward to a bright future for spartan chess!

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